Making your own vegetable stock
Posted 16 February 2007 - 04:57 AM
since we started getting our vegetable box delivered each week I began saving the ends of vegetables (leeks, carrots, onion skins, broccoli ends et cetera) and putting them into a freezer bag. When the bag is full I simmer and then reduce the whole lot as a stock and put it in a tupperware container.
The problem is that the stock invariably ends up quite bitter. I'm not placing potatos, stalks or garlic into the stock so what am I doing wrong? Does anybody else make stock from vegetable peelings like this and have you got any tips to share?
Posted 16 February 2007 - 08:52 AM
I've also heard it said that celery leaves will make a stock bitter, but I use them all the time and never have noticed a problem...
Posted 16 February 2007 - 10:05 AM
I also avoid adding too many carrots as that makes the stock too sweet for my taste.
The only vegetables that I use the "top" of are leeks, celery, fennel (if I want to add an anise flavor note). Other typically "discarded" parts of vegetables I'll use are corn cobs, if making a corn stock and parsley stems. I've not noticed any problem with using celery leaves although maybe there is a point where too many would add an unbalanced note. I don't use carrot peels alone because I think they can have a bitter flavor depending on the age, etc of the carrot. Perhaps this is not noticeable if one uses the whole carrot, but I haven't thought of just using the peels and I wouldn't use the "grassy-tasting" top as mentioned above.
When I have all the ingredients and want to make a very good, full-flavored vegetable stock I use this recipe from Annie Somerville in Field of Greens: click
The ingredients are:
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 leek top, washed and coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed in their skin
1 teaspoon salt
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 potato, sliced
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
6 fresh parsley sprigs, chopped
6 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh oregano sprigs
3 fresh sage leaves (I don't always add these)
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
9 cups cold water
Simmering an hour is long enough to extract the flavors and I do remove the vegetables as she recommend by straining and pressing the vegetables against the sieve.
I use this recipe as a basic template; the potate adds some nice body. I'll sometimes make a variant that includes tomato and/or fennel tops and/or the outer layers of the bulb. Some other spice flavorings to think of depending on the stocks eventual use are star anise or lemongrass.
Annie Somerville has two other great vegetable stocks in the book: a mushroom stock and a corn stock. I've also made many of the recipes in the chapter on soups and have been happy with all of them.
By the way, welcome to eGullet, Will!
-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"
Posted 16 February 2007 - 10:19 AM
It looks as though the problems could be the carrot peelings, broccole stems and myriad vegetable seeds I tip in.
As for turning the heat off - I don't actually do that. I simmer the whole lot for 90 mins, strain and reduce until the flavour is sufficiently concentrated.
I'm hoping to get the art down because I like the idea of 'something for nothing' which comes from using the discarded vegetable bits. The only vegetables I like to add whole are shitake mushrooms - they seem to really 'beef' up the flavour (literally, in fact).
Once again - your replies are really appreciated guys :-)
Posted 16 February 2007 - 12:20 PM
We always scrub potatoes and other root vegetables before peeling them, too. Dirt makes bitter stock, even though it tastes sweet when you're a toddler! Also, we throw the onion skins in, and at least one whole carrot, chopped finely, into almost stock that we make. It's an old wives' tale in that we believe in, those items make for a sweeter stock. Don't you love scrappy stock??? We do too!
Visit Our Cape Coop Blog
Cure Cutaneous Lymphoma
Join the DarkSide---------------------------> DarkSide Member #006-03-09-06
Posted 08 July 2010 - 09:13 AM
Director of Operations
Posted 08 July 2010 - 11:23 AM
Can you reduce a vegetable stock way down the way you do a meat stock? I know you won't get an actual glacé texture without the gelatin, but does the flavor suffer on the reduction? I'm thinking in terms of storage space.
In my experience, nearly all vegetable stocks have a slight bitter note (though not necessarily an unpleasant one) that is concentrated when you reduce it too far. I'm sure that by being extra careful with ingredients you can avoid this but most home cooks are just cooking scraps.
Posted 08 July 2010 - 11:30 AM
Posted 08 July 2010 - 01:07 PM